Key Industry Financials
At the recent Consultation meeting between HRV and the industry bodies, HRV made a presentation on the key indicators for the 2013/14 financial year.
Results at the end of the third quarter (March) indicate the HRV Group will achieve a result of a $1m profit. That result will be slightly down on the original budget due to revenue from the Tabcorp Joint Venture (JV) for the three codes being below original expectations.
Stakes increases implemented in September and March mean that total stakes for the year will be $36m, compared to last year's $33.6m - a rise of 7%. Due to the phasing in of the rises, the full impact of the rises will not be felt until next year when there will be an automatic increase of $1.2m for the 2014/15 season.
The budget for 2014/15 is not complete, however there are challenges ahead - particularly in the wagering and gaming sectors. Current estimates are for a reduction in racing industry income from the Joint Venture with Tabcorp which, coupled with gaming tax increases and the automatic increase in stakes, puts pressure on the bottom line. To counter that, the Board will be refinancing the debt associated with the land and buildings at Melton. A favourable outcome in lower finance costs should be achieved, which will assist in forecasting another profitable year.
Tabcorp CEO Speech
At the recent Asian Racing Conference the CEO of Tabcorp (our JV partner) David Attenborough spoke on the importance of Tabcorp to the funding of racing.
Click here for a link to an article written by Jessica Gardner from The Age covering the topics raised by Mr Attenborough. Note that Tabcorp returns $657m to the racing industry in Victoria and NSW as well as $225m in taxes.
In Victoria, Tabcorp also makes significant contributions toward funding of Herald Sun form guides and radio station RSN so you can see why the company is so important to harness racing in this State.
On March 1, HRV commenced its policy of paying a stake down to last place. The strategy was based around encouraging owners to keep their horse in the racing population longer with a view to increasing field sizes.
It is only early days, so only an anecdotal view can be taken at this stage, however the statistics for April are interesting. Below are numbers extracted for this April and compared to last April:
Total number of starters increased by 238 for the month;
Number of individual starters increased by 55;
Nine extra races were run this April;
Starters per race increased from 9.03 (2013) to 9.49.
The benefits of importing and exporting harness racing product are increasing all the time - for the overall benefit of the industry.
With the increase in product now being imported by Sky Racing from France and Sweden, we are getting a strong wagering benefit through the Tabcorp Joint Venture.
For the 10 months ended April 2014, $38m has been wagered on international harness product by Victorians - up 10% on last year.
Victorian trotting product is also being exported more into Europe. The net benefit of exporting our races this financial year will be $1m, up from $600,000 last year.
With the amount of domestic product maturing, international races are an important source of growth for HRV.
Victoria Police New Recruit
For the many people passionate about the standardbred breed, last weekend was a monumental day when "Bob" was officially employed by Victoria Police - the first to ever be admitted to the ranks.
Congratulations to Nicole Tassone from Raising the Standards, who was the intermediary between Bob's racing career (as Mossdale Allan) and his time as a trainee with Victoria Police.
The story was told to a statewide audience by Tony Jones on National Nine News last Saturday night.
Click here to view the full story which has received enormous recognition on the Raising the Standard's Facebook Page.
It's been pleasing to see some fabulous harness racing related TAB promotions in May, which will continue throughout June.
The TAB's 'Trot Right In' campaign which runs every Friday night in May provides punters with a $10,000 Early Quaddie jackpot on the Tabcorp Park Melton meeting. The TAB has also run a number of special Fixed Odds markets every Friday night combining AFL footy with the Trots.
There will be $10,000 First 4 pool guarantees on every race on Friday nights at Tabcorp Park Melton for the first three weekends in June.
HRV welcomes Cody Winnell to the position of Communications Manager. Cody is a very experienced journalist, formerly with the Leader Newspaper group.
Importantly Cody is a keen harness racing follower and he will bring his professionalism and enthusiasm to the role.
This is a very important appointment for HRV as we plan to provide more content to all forms of media to promote engagement in our sport. He will commence with HRV officially on May 26.
Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will continue with HRV, with their roles more focussed on wagering, providing tips and punting information through the Goodform platform.
Welcome Cody and we wish you well in your new career.
I suspect you never know when you have reached the pinnacle of a profession however Lauriston Bloodstock principals Bill and Anne Anderson must feel they are pretty close.
The Andersons have bred many handy types over the years, courtesy of their wise selection of broodmares.
In what must be a first for the breeding industry the pair bred the winners of the lucrative APG Finals for both the fillies (Queen Of Pop) and the colts and geldings (Follow The Stars). In an added bonus Bill and Anne owned Queen Of Pop outright although their loyalties were somewhat divided as they also bred favoured runner Rosie OReilly.
Follow The Stars for looks to be something out of the box ( - Smyrna Duruisseau). The Andersons look forward to the next crop from the mare by (weanling) and (in foal).
Riina Maattanen, formerly of Finland, had her first ride in Australia at Shepparton on May 3. She was successful in the Monte aboard Sonofanearl.
Good Luck Jonas
Swedish born American based trainer Johan Czernyson was a welcome guest in Melbourne for the Great Southern Star, vowing to return in the future with a runner in the race.
Since returning to the US Jonas' five-year-old trotting mare Maven has taken all before her. So much so she has been invited to contest the famed Elitlopp in Sweden on May 25.
With no Australian participating we will be adopting Maven as our horse to follow.
Daryl Woolcock sadly passed on April 21 after a lifetime in the harness racing industry. Daryl held a trainer/driver license for several decades (HRV computer records commence in 1979) which only lapsed in 2013. He was well respected in the industry.
One of the best horses Daryl was associated with came along late in his career when Pepperell Dancer won several feature trotting races in 2008.
Ross Gigg - HRV was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Ross Gigg. Ross was a respected and popular manager of the Newcastle Club and would be well known to many Victorian participants. Ross suffered a heart attack at age 58.
His later life was in harness racing administration. Prior to that he had been a top Rugby League player with Penrith Panthers (100 games between 1974 and 1984). Our condolences to the Gigg family.
Frank Verstrepen - also sad to learn of Frank's sudden passing. He was the principal for Provideo, HRV's long-time vision provider.
Provideo held the contract for 15 years until recently and Frank was a terrific supporter of the racing industry.
HRV form guru Jason Bonnington and his wife Renee welcomed a baby girl Bella, on Friday May 9.
Did You Know?
drove his 200th winner for the season (Australia wide) on Lennytheshark last Friday night (May 9) at Melton. It is the 14th time he has driver 200 winners in a season.